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This zip archive of several .XLSX (Microsoft Excel) spreadsheet files is the index to all marriage licenses filed in New York City for the years 1996-2017. This data was originally compiled by the New York City Clerk's Office.
Please note that this data is known to be somewhat incomplete, and there are some quality control problems with this database, including spelling mistakes and some malformed data. You can read more about those data quality issues, and search this entire file online for free, as well as an earlier data set for 1950-1995, at www.NYCMarriageIndex.com.
Where did this data come from?
In September 2017, the not-for-profit activist group Reclaim The Records made a New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request asking for a public copy of this data from the New York City Clerk's Office. The Clerk's Office refused to hand over the data, and were therefore eventually named in an "Article 78" lawsuit in the Supreme Court of New York in January 2018. The City eventually settled with Reclaim The Records in May 2018, and provided the data that was requested, as well as reimbursing their attorneys fees.
The data that the City Clerk's Office eventually provided were in the form of several .XLSX (Microsoft Excel) spreadsheet files, covering several years of data, but not broken down as to borough. The city password-protected the files; the password is included in a text file within this zip file. Some of these .XSLX files have hundreds of thousands of rows of data. Please note that you must open these files in a very recent version of Microsoft Excel or NeoOffice, as earlier versions of Excel and most other spreadsheet programs (including "Numbers" on a Mac) will incorrectly truncate the data after about 65,000 rows.
Reclaim The Records then turned these .XSLX files into some cleaned-up and concatenated .CSV files, and then loaded those CSV files into a new MySQL database with several tables, one for each file. An auto-incrementing 'id' field was added to each of the MySQL tables, as there was no unique or primary key in the files previously. This download represents a zip archive of the original .XSLX files, untouched. They're presented here for public use, but you'd probably be better served starting with the slightly less messy CSV or SQL versions instead.
The XLSX files, the CSV files, and the SQL file are all in the public domain as public documents, and have all been uploaded to the Internet Archive. There are no restrictions on their use. Feel free to republish them, use them in projects, for personal research, or anything else you'd like.
To learn more about the backstory behind these files, and to read the request, the original court documents, and the settlement papers, click here. To read about an earlier lawsuit (also successful!) filed in 2016 for the 1950-1995 section of this data, click here.
To search this data online, including an earlier data set for 1950-1995, check out www.NYCMarriageIndex.com.
To learn more about Reclaim The Records and our work bringing public archival data back to the public using Freedom of Information laws, check out www.ReclaimTheRecords.org, follow us on Twitter at @ReclaimTheRecs, or Like us on Facebook.
Thanks go to our attorneys at the New York City law firm Beldock, Levine & Hoffman, for taking our case and seeing it through to its successful outcome.